Go ahead, listen to your heart. It may be trying to tell you something…

There comes a point in life when you are willing to let go of everything you know and leap into the unknown, trusting that somehow you will grow from this and perhaps find your life’s true purpose.

Up until 2013, I thought my life’s true purpose was in teaching and making a difference in the lives of children and families. But after having been denied tenure in the NYC Department of Education in June of 2013 (more details to follow in a future post), my confidence in not only myself and my teaching abilities, but also my life’s true purpose was shaken to the core.

In November of 2013, I began a profound soul awareness journey. Through prayer and meditation, I reconnected with my heart’s desires. I felt a stirring in my soul to move back to Hawaii and on January 19, 2014, I boarded the plane and made my way back to Oahu. The way my life has been unfolding ever since I moved back has been surreal and I’ve been reassured that divine order is at work in my life.

I love connecting with others and sharing my life experiences in hopes of encouraging and learning from my fellow human beings. Follow me as my new life here in Hawaii and other places unfolds. I look forward to traveling this road with you.

I would love to read about your experiences with taking leaps of faith. Please adhere to the following comment guidelines: Speak with good purpose; avoid or limit curse words, and be concise. Mahalo!

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Stepping out in Faith

I’d like to believe that what recently transpired was not a mere coincidence but more like a “God wink,” encouraging me not to give up on my dreams just yet.

Although I was informed during the interview that the job in Maine would be physically demanding, I figured my yoga practice would be enough to keep me strong and able to fulfill my job responsibilities. Never did I imagine that a flare-up would cut my time short in Maine and send me driving back to New York where I have my family and access to affordable health care. My plans were changed abruptly and I was left questioning my body’s ability to continue in outdoor/farm-based education.

Towards the end of the camp season in late August, I suffered one of the worst flare-ups since the car accident in 2013. It made me question everything I had planned and envisioned for my future. The pain had started a few weeks earlier in July, when I began awakening at night to painful numbness and tingling in my arms and hands. My knee also started acting up and I was unable to put any pressure on it. I started wearing wrist splints to relieve the pain, and though it helped, that and the knee pain, made it difficult to practice yoga consistently. Then in early August, I hurt my back while turning compost, but still managed after a few days of rest, to return to work. Two weeks later, my back could no longer take the long work days and the dreadful spasms followed by sharp shooting pains returned. The pain brought tears to my eyes and all I could do was breathe through it. I felt a sense of hopelessness, helplessness, and vulnerability. Unable to walk to the dining hall, I had to ask a co-worker to bring me food. I even had to ask for help getting dressed. As I lay in bed, tears streaming down my cheeks, I thought to myself, “Am I a hopeful, naive idiot who needs to give up her dreams of working in such a demanding profession?” And I questioned my plans for motherhood, wondering, “How can I take care of a baby when taking care of myself is a struggle?”

I made the decision to leave Maine right before the start of the Fall season. The conditions were too rustic in the Fall, with no transportation of my own, and a lot fewer people onsite. The thought of being stuck in the cabin situated up a very steep hill with only bunk beds, no bathrooms, and a wood-fire stove and dealing with a flare-up terrified me.

That weekend, slowly but surely, I journeyed back to New York, taking frequent breaks to relieve my back. I needed inspiration on my car ride home and listened to the audiobook, Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I needed to believe it would still be possible to hike in Patagonia, Chile as I had originally planned for November, after finishing work in Maine. “How did I get here again?” I wondered. Was the Universe telling me to switch gears, to let go of my dreams of outdoor education and of leading an active, healthy lifestyle and helping others do the same? Several people had already suggested I change careers when they learned of my recent flare-up.

After a few weeks of bouncing from the homes of friends and family in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Long Island, I made the decision to stay on Long Island and moved back in with my brother while I recuperated. Becoming stronger and healthier is my focus now.

This life detour has brought unexpected blessings. In October, I attended a farm-based education conference at Shelburne Farms in Vermont. I was very grateful to have been awarded a scholarship to attend the conference and I received valuable guidance on a project I am working on. I was happy being back on a farm. Since I was a short, inexpensive bus ride away, I also visited the beautiful city of Montreal, Canada.

And in an interesting twist, I recently returned to my roots of early childhood education. I’m helping my cousin temporarily in her newly opened day care. I’m rediscovering my passion and expertise in caring for young children. I love taking care of the children. They are so adorable. It is physically demanding, but I take naps during my break that help me recharge and make it through the day.

About a month ago, I summoned up the courage to dream again and wrote down the things I most want to accomplish by November of next year. At the top of that list, I wrote “hiked and worked in Patagonia.” A few days later, I responded to a friend’s Facebook post of her plans to visit Easter Island, an island off the coast of Chile. She wrote back and sent me a link to an airfare deal to Chile. With hopeful anticipation, I booked my ticket to Chile that same night.

A few nights ago, I found the book, Hiking Long Island at my friend’s place. It’s as if the Universe is saying, “I am listening. And now is not the time to give up, but step out in faith and lay the foundation for the next phase of your life.”

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This is a picture of me from the trip leader training in Maine back in June. Hopefully, I will soon have a picture of me backpacking through the Torres del Paine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Leap of Faith that Led to Maine

“Aloha. This is the final boarding call for Flight 51 with non-stop service from JFK to Honolulu.” I stopped walking towards the terminal. My pulse quickened. There was a tug at my heart to return to the familiar. This is it Magaly. You sure you don’t want to go back to Hawaii, find a teaching job, get that good health insurance, and make your dreams of starting a family a reality? I thought for a moment. No. Even though returning to Hawaii felt safe, I had made the decision to trust my intuition and follow through on going to Maine. I also reminded myself that I will only be in Maine for a few months and that these feelings of apprehension are absolutely normal and that I have chosen to trust and be open to Spirit’s guidance.

Hawaii to Maine? How did I get here? In my last blog entry, I was in El Salvador working on a special project that involved my grandparents (I’m still working on it by the way). I left El Salvador in November to visit family in Orlando for a month, and then in December, flew back home to Oahu. I smiled as the airplane descended, recognizing the familiar sights of the Waianae mountain range, the turquoise waters of Hickam Beach, and Diamond Head off in the distance. I had returned home and yet the lease I signed for my new place was only for six months. I had a feeling that by June, I would be leaving the island again. I thought I would be leaving to teach abroad in Abu Dhabi, but the Universe was guiding me in another direction.

I will admit that I was disappointed and my ego bruised when I was not offered the science teacher position in the United Arab Emirates, but it’s just as well I did not get it. I had to psyche myself up for the interview and I felt uninspired and unenthusiastic at the thought of returning to a traditional, indoor classroom setting. Once again, I started to reflect on what meaningful, vision-inspired work looks like to me. By this point, I had been working as an education programs guide at a private nature reserve on the windward side of Oahu. While every job has its ups and downs, I loved the natural beauty of my work environment and helping students and people from all over the world make meaningful connections. I came home one day after work and decided that for the next five years, I would pursue opportunities in outdoor education.

I researched outdoor ed summer jobs in New York and while doing this, found the job opportunity in Maine. I applied only for the summer as I’m just not accustomed to Northeast winters anymore, but decided if offered the job, I would stay through the fall season. I had the Skype interview with the program director and soon after was offered the job. I did not have to feign enthusiasm when I accepted the job because I am truly excited for the opportunity to teach in an outdoor setting in Maine.

There is always a sadness when we leave our loved ones and the place we call home but I also know that moving to Maine was a soul-inspired decision that I have a feeling, will be full of synchronicities. I am also reassured by the knowledge that if ever I long for the connection of family and friends, I will only be a short plane ride away from my family and friends in New York, and a short car ride away from my friend’s welcoming, fun-loving family-whom I met at his wedding this spring in Hawaii-that happen to spend their summers in Maine.

 

 

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Halos and Hawks

Something shifted earlier this week. And I’m not talking about the ground under me from the 5.0 earthquake we recently experienced here in El Salvador. I had just finished walking the dog when I saw the shadow of their expansive wings on the ground. “Oh no! The hawks are back!” Frantically, I searched for rocks to throw at them to scare them away and protect our young chicks. But as I launched them into the air, a sight so rare and so beautiful caught my attention-a rainbow halo around the sun with two hawks flying overhead. To me, this was no ordinary event, this was a spiritual message. The following morning, I saw two other hawks flying high above the sky, but instead of panic, I felt a peace and a deep respect for their beauty and grace. In many cultures, rainbows are said to be messages of peace and harmony and the hawks represent intuition, spiritual awareness, focus, and vision. Perhaps the Universe was reminding me to trust my intuition as I continue in this new chapter of my life and allow the principles of peace and harmony to guide me in my endeavors. It could also be reminding me to focus on completing the special project I have started.

Earlier this year, after learning that come June, I would no longer be the garden teacher at the farm as a result of funding loss, I decided to take some time off from teaching to travel and work on this creative endeavor. In June, I took another leap of faith, left my apartment in Hawaii, and traveled to India for three weeks, then returned to New York for the summer, and in mid-September, I flew to El Salvador, my birthplace and also the setting for the creative endeavor I am working on.

So here I am back at my grandparents’ farm in El Salvador, cherishing the moments I am spending with them, and experiencing life here from a fresh perspective. And always being thankful for and open to the messages from the Universe.

 

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A Magical Morning

It was one of those mornings where I felt truly connected to my Divine purpose. The kindergarteners, fascinated by the beetles they found on the corn yesterday while learning about pollination, arrived early this morning to help me hand pick these garden pests and drop them in a bucket of soapy water. Some were hesitant to pick off the beetles at first, but when I placed the beetles in their hands and showed them what it would feel like, they quickly got over their fear, and emerged from the corn field enthusiastic and eager to show off their catch. The morning continued in their garden, where they transplanted flower seedlings and weeded the daikon and carrot beds. One of the rituals we do at the farm is to say good night to the seeds and seedlings. We teach the children that plants are living and that in addition to water, sunlight, and air, plants need love too. One little boy’s gentle affection towards his plant, caught my attention. “I love you okay,” he said. “You are special. I love you baby plant.” It warmed my heart to see this, especially because I saw this same little boy yesterday afternoon having a meltdown, crying and arguing with his older sibling on his walk home from school. And this experience along with other experiences this week, reminded me that I don’t always know what is happening in people’s lives, but that small acts of kindness can make a difference in their lives. And I found that it makes a difference in my life too-expanding my experience of peace, hope, love, and healing. We ended this magical morning with freshly prepared lime mint honey slushies and hugs.

Friends, I needed this to remind me of the beautiful experiences life has to offer and to shift my focus away from the physical pain and frustration of having hurt my back again to seeking out opportunities to serve with love. Two months from today, I am scheduled to fly out of Hawai’i for a six month travel journey in my next leap of faith. I am experiencing a lot of uncertainty in my life right now, but surrendering to fear and frustration is not an option. The following quote from Day 3 of Unity’s Fearless Living: 30 days of Focused Prayer (fearlessliving.today) fed my faith perfectly today:

“Life … is a journey into the unknown where change is constant. The challenge is to pay attention, heal what needs healing, and grieve what we’ve lost as a testimony to how precious it has been. Staying faithful to the certainty that we live in a spiritually meaningful reality, we are called by change to authentic trust and surrender. Answering that call, we live in peace, joy, and service right now in this beautiful and holy world.”

May this quote feed your faith too friends and may you find healing in serving others with love.

Hugs and love,
Magaly

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Insights from my first year in Hawai’i

A lot can change in a year. Certainly, that has been the case for me. A year ago today, I moved to Hawai’i, unsure of how my life would unfold, but trusting that God was guiding me towards my highest good. I can write a list of significant events that have taken place this year, but these can be found on my blog.

Instead friends, I’d like to share with you some insights, insights that are born from my experience, struggles, and ever increasing awareness of my thought life this past year. And so it is, that I can move to a new location, get a new job, meet new people, and still over time, begin to experience a restlessness or lack of fulfillment. And although, I have set the intention to start a family, I know that relying on family alone as a source of fulfillment is not fair to them or me. One of my greatest desires in life is to experience freedom, peace, joy, and happiness-independent of my external circumstances. I also desire healing, on all levels, not just for myself, but for my fellow human beings-and have set the intention for it. And thankfully, despite the ups and downs, I have this deep knowing that it is happening. I also believe that the Universe is guiding me towards leading a fulfilling life independent of external circumstances.

This evolutionary path has certainly brought me great joy but has also stirred up feelings of fear and anxiety, as I have been made aware of the need to release certain behavior and thought patterns in order to evolve into the person God has created me to be. I don’t have to run away from these feelings. I don’t have to attach myself to them either, but I can be open to observing them and breathing through the experience, and approaching it with love-the love that is within and all around us.

I am definitely excited about the possibilities for this year-traveling to different places and meeting new people, spending time with family, looking into starting my own family, getting a new job, but I am also appreciating the inner transformation-guided by love-that is currently taking place.

“I have decided to love…If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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The special letter from a year ago

I opened up my journal this morning wondering what thoughts had been occupying my mind a year ago today. It was after all, a year ago in November, that I connected with my heart’s desires and booked my flight to Hawai’i. I came upon a letter I had written as part of Oprah and Deepak’s 21-day meditation experience, Desire and Destiny, in which I shared with my younger self what I wish I knew. This letter reaffirmed several truths I have been connecting to with my most recent meditation experience over the past three weeks, the Energy of Attraction. I thought I’d share the letter with you friends. It was a source of encouragement for me especially after experiencing the pain of old wounds-both physical and emotional recently. Here is the letter friends. May you be encouraged and uplifted.

Dear Younger Me,

You are awesome just as you are. Quit wasting time trying to be something or someone you’re not and instead cultivate and develop your wonderful talents and attributes. You are imperfect, people are imperfect, and we still have the capacity to love, accept, and forgive each other creating beautiful bonds. Appreciate who and what you are today and let go of the “if only” thinking. And you know what, you can be beautiful and smart, but remember confidence is much more beautiful than big hair and layers of makeup. Focus your energies on creating the life you desire and be not afraid of the desires of your heart. I believe that they are God-given and if you meditate daily, you can align yourself with this Universal life force, the same living energy that flows through the trees. Don’t squander your energy, talents, and resources on worrying and procrastination, but again, invest your time and energies wisely. Sometimes you have to “do what’s necessary, then’s what’s possible, and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.” On this road of life, you will experience heartache, disappointment, outrage, joy, triumph, and other emotions, but always affirm: 1. God is always guiding you towards your highest good and 2. God is always with you. Sometimes we may need a reminder that things will get better and I promise you cultivating an attitude of gratitude and filling your life with things that bring you joy will help make things better. So relax, enjoy the present moment, and trust that everything is going to be okay.

– written November 23, 2013

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The Surfboard, the Ocean, and I

For the first time in my life, I attempted to surf. An official Hawai’i resident now, I could no longer resist the beckoning of its waves. Prior to my friend picking me up, I decided to watch beginner surfing instructional videos on YouTube. I said to my friend, “My goal for today is to catch waves in the prone position.” Little did I know one of the biggest challenges for me, would be to stay on my board.

My friend picked a spot he thought would be good for beginners. He prepped the surfboards and soon we were ready to greet the ocean. With surfboard in hand, I walked into the water and laid it down. A mixture of excitement and nervousness coursed through me. I tried to jump on the board, but lost my balance and tipped over. I looked so clumsy with my arms and legs flailing about, but I refused to let embarrassment keep me from trying. After about two more attempts, I was able to get on my surfboard. And then, as I started to paddle out, I tipped over. I paddled out some more and tipped over again. And again. And again. At one point, I hugged the board so I wouldn’t tip over. Paddling is a lot more challenging than it looks. It  requires you to be centered on the board, not too far up or too far down, and to adjust your hips to maintain balance. Ah, the wisdom the surfboard shared with me today about balance.

I spent the rest of my time in the ocean paddling, balancing, tipping over, and getting toppled by the waves. Perhaps twice I rode a wave-once while in the prone position; the other while seated on a paddleboard.

After about two hours of in the water, I was exhausted, and decided it was time to call it a day and paddled back to shore. This time though, I didn’t struggle. I got into a nice rhythm and gently came up on shore.

Will I attempt surfing again? Absolutely! And I will probably try paddleboarding as well.

Is there a sport or skill you’ve been wanting to learn or refine? Go for it! You can do it! Have a great week friends!

L: The "professional" shot. LR: Me paddling. UR: The view when we first arrived.

L: The “professional” shot. LR: Me paddling. UR: The view when we first arrived.

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